The Best Way to Ensure We All Get Along

I’m a big social media user. I particularly
enjoy Facebook because in my opinion it’s more personal than all of the other
social media sites I use. I like that I can get to know people in a much more
intimate way and that they can get to know me, too, because I’m the same guy on
Facebook that you’d encounter if we sat down to share a beer or had coffee
While scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed
not too long ago, I came across a picture and quote from the rap artist
In case you had a hard time seeing the quote
here it is again, “I don’t care if you’re black, white, straight, bisexual,
gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich or poor. If you’re nice to me I’ll be nice to you. Simple as that.”
From what I gather, Eminem has grown immensely
as an individual. Having seen a segment on 60
about Eminem years ago, I believe that’s partly due to him becoming
a father. The intent behind his message is good – Accept me and I’ll accept
you in return. The world would be a much better place if we saw that in practice more
However, you and I, Eminem, and every other
person, can be more proactive to make this mutual acceptance and respect become
reality. You see, according to what Eminem said, he is waiting for others to
treat him nicely, then he’ll do the same to them. In other words, he will
reciprocate their kindness. Eminem is responding to the principle of
reciprocity by giving back what he receives first. Most people live by this
principle of influence. If someone respects them they will respect the other
person. If someone is kind to them they will be kind in return.
A more effective approach to ensure we all get
along would be becoming an influence of change by being the first person to
act. In doing so, you engage the principle of reciprocity and others will feel some obligation
to treat you the same way. How much better would everyone be if Eminem and
other prominent people went out of their way to be kind first, to show respect
first, and to help first?
What about you? How might your family,
workplace and life be better if you were the first one to willingly give what
you’d like from others?
Imagine for a moment that you have a fractured
relationship. You believe the other person is at fault and they believe you’re
at fault. Usually the truth is somewhere in between and each person bears some
responsibility. What would happen if you stepped to the middle first and said,
“Regardless of what happened, I should not have said (or done) X. I want you to
know I’m sorry.” It’s very likely the other person will soften his/her position,
would fess up to some wrongdoing, and apologize in response to your first move.
The relationship may still be somewhat fractured but it’s on the mend and at
least has a chance of going forward.
Perhaps you want respect from coworkers. The
big question would be; do you give them respect? If not, start going out of
your way to do so, then see how they respond. Whatever it is you want from others,
be the first to give because it engages reciprocity and you’re likely to get
the same in return.
The principle of liking can help build or
strengthen relationships and so can reciprocity when it’s engaged sincerely. It
might require swallowing some pride from time to time, taking the first step to
say, “I was wrong” or “I’m sorry,” it could entail letting go of anger,
resentment or hurt. But in the long run you’ll be better off letting go of
those things and probably much happier restoring relationships and getting what
you desire in return – kindness, respect, love, and so on. What’s holding you
back from taking the first step?
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.